CenSes Seminar

CenSes Seminar
23 January 2019, 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Gordon Room, G34, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

 A Measure of Smell: Predicting Odour Perception from Odour Structure | Noam Sobel | The Weizmann Institute

One hundred years ago, Alexander Graham Bell asked:

“Can you measure the difference between one kind of smell and another? It is very obvious that we have very many different kinds of smells, all the way from the odour of violets and roses up to asafoetida. But until you can measure their likenesses and differences you can have no science of odour”.

Only recently have we answered this 100-year-old challenge: Our group has used olfactory psychophysics and chemical modelling to develop a series of algorithms that predict any two odour’s "likenesses and differences" based on their chemical structure alone. These algorithms successfully predicted novel olfactory perceptual phenomena such as "olfactory white", and suggest specific limits to olfactory perceptual space, with implications on the number of dimensions in olfactory perception and the number of odorants humans can discriminate.


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